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Spartan stadium
Flickr/Ken Lund / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Big Ten Conference will play football this fall. After postponing the season – and a lot of behind-the-scenes back and forth since then – the leaders of the member universities voted in favor of a plan to start the season next month.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Doug Tribou on Morning Edition to discuss the decision.

Spartan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University’s athletic director says it's “probably inevitable” that one or more Big Ten teams won’t be able to play a week or more during the conference’s 2020 football season.

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On Stateside, the state Senate passed a bill this week that allows local and county clerks to begin preparing absentee ballots a day ahead of the election. We check in with two clerks on whether the state's election system is ready for a potential wave of absentee ballots as November approaches. Also, a Detroit Free Press reporter updates on the Big Ten’s decision to resume football this fall. Plus, a look at the legacy of the first Black faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

EMMA WINOWIECKI / Michigan Radio

The Big Ten has reversed course. There will be college football this fall.

The Big Ten announced Wednesday that the fall football season will begin October 23. The conference has not said when or if other fall sports will also get the go ahead. 

aerial view of empty University of Michigan football stadium
Alex Mertz / Unsplash

Pop-up tents, coolers, and cornhole sets will be sitting, unused, in sheds and garages across the state of Michigan Saturday morning.

University of Michigan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Update: August 11, 2020 at 3:16 p.m.

The Big Ten Conference has confirmed today that there will not be a fall sports season. It is the first of the college football's elite "Power Five" conferences to make the decision.

bus stop sign
fabi k / Creative Commons

Today on Stateside, a reboot of efforts to expand regional transit in Southeast Michigan. Plus, as the state tackles PFAS contamination, we look at the lessons missed in the 1973 PBB crisis in St. Louis, Michigan.

Members of the Michigan State University marching band are braving below freezing temperatures to take part in "Sparty Watch" — a more than 50-year-old protection scheme devised to fend off attacks on MSU's beloved mascot, The Spartan, in advance of their rivalry football game on Saturday.

It's 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and 22 degrees. Twenty members of the MSU marching band and color guard are huddled outside in the snow flanking the 9-foot bronze statue.

worker on an assembly line leans into a car door
Adobe Stock

 


Today on Stateside, how signs of progress on a U.S. trade deal with China could impact Michigan manufacturers. Plus, one family is hoping to fill the gaps in mental health care services for young adults after losing their son to suicide.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a popular tourist spot in Northern Michigan
Flickr user Rodney Campbell / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On today's Stateside, the students in Detroit's public schools are starting the year drinking bottled water after high levels of copper and lead were found in some drinking fountains. Plus, trips to Michigan's sand dunes are a classic summer activity, but could climate change reshape the state's beloved natural landmarks? 

Urban Meyer
MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

 


As summer begins to wind down, the fall football season is firing up. 

Michigan State will kick off its season this Friday at home against the Utah State Aggies. On Saturday, Michigan heads to South Bend for its season opener against Notre Dame. 

 

MGoBlog / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0 (for photos on Flickr)

Ohio State University has put head football coach Urban Meyer on paid leave while the school investigates whether he protected former assistant coach Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Urban Meyer
MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

Ohio State has placed head football coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave.

At issue is whether Meyer knew about allegations of domestic abuse by one of his assistant coaches, but failed to report them.

The university is investigating claims by the ex-wife of that assistant coach.

Courtney Smith says that she told Urban Meyer's wife about her husband's abusive behavior in 2015.

Zach Smith was a receivers coach for the Buckeyes until he was fired last month.

Jevon Moore
Sam Corey / Michigan Radio

 


Student-athletes face unique pressures, both on and off the field. 

But research has found athletes are far less likely than other college students to seek help for mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.

Jevon Moore wants to change that. Moore joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to discuss his efforts to shift the culture of college athletics and increase awareness of mental health resources.

Michigan State University sign
Michigan State University

Three former Michigan State University football players pleaded guilty today in a sexual assault case.

Josh King, Demetric Vance, and Donnie Corley all took deals with the prosecutor’s office to lesser charges. They were charged last June and accused of assaulting a female student at a party in a campus apartment on January 16 of last year.

MSU football and helmet
Wikimedia Commons

Three of Michigan's college football teams are headed to bowl games. The selections were announced Sunday.

Michigan State will play in the Holiday Bowl. The No. 16 Spartans and No. 18 Washington State will meet in San Diego on December 28.

The University of Michigan will ring in 2018 in Tampa, Fla. The Wolverines will face South Carolina in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Dwayne Haskins replaced injured star J.T. Barrett in the third quarter and led No. 8 Ohio State from behind to beat Michigan 31-20 Saturday for the Buckeyes' sixth straight win in the storied rivalry.

  The Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) head to the Big Ten championship game next week to face No. 5 Wisconsin, with hopes of making the College Football Playoff.

  The Wolverines (8-4, 5-4) have lost 13 of 14 to Ohio State, including the last three with coach Jim Harbaugh.

Justin Verlander winds up in his Tigers jersey
Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's time to talk some sports.

The Lions had a bye week. That means we'll dive straight into college football, and the fact that Michigan State has moved up two places, to Number 16, in the AP Poll, while Michigan dropped out of the AP rankings for the first time since 2015.

A flag with both the University of Michigan and Michigan State
yooperann / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Thousands of football fans are pouring into Ann Arbor for tonight’s face-off between the U of M Wolverines and MSU Spartans.

The long-standing rivalry between the two teams and the game’s later-than-usual 7:30 start time have local officials on guard.

Diane Brown with U of M's Division of Public Safety and Security says the department has a comprehensive security plan in place, “as usual.”

She says at the beginning of each season and each week, the department looks at its plans to see if any adjustments are needed.

Michigan vs. Notre Dame. The two teams play their final game in 2014.
Michigan Football / Facebook

For the first time in their 119-year football rivalry, Michigan and Michigan State football will play at night this Saturday.

The 7:30 kick-off time excites the recruits, the players, and the students. In other words, young people. The night game bothers many older fans, and worries store owners, university officials, and the police.

True, the late starts can bring a new energy to the game, which it did when Michigan hosted Notre Dame in Michigan’s first ever night game, in 2011. After the Wolverines pulled off an amazing 17-point comeback, the crowd stuck around for 30 minutes, just to cheer.

But older fans don’t like getting in their cars after midnight, especially when many have to drive several hours. Everyone else is worried about how fans will behave after a full day of tailgating. Some restaurant owners are prepared to close their doors if things get out of hand, and the police and university leaders of both schools are working to keep that from happening.  

So why risk it? That one’s easy: Money.

Official Website of Spartan Athletics

The three former MSU football players facing sexual assault charges in East Lansing have waived their rights to preliminary exams. The case will now advance to circuit court.

Josh King, 19, is facing first degree criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly assaulting a female MSU student at party on campus in January. Those charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. He’s also facing one count of “capturing/distributing image of unclothed person,” for allegedly filming part of the assault.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, arms out, protesting a call
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Get out your face paint and foam fingers. It's opening weekend for college football.

Michigan State is hoping to bounce back after finishing with just three wins last year. The program has been under intense scrutiny for off-field problems, including allegations of sexual assault against some former Spartans players.

Crashmaster007 / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Next Idea

I confess that I love football. I played it in high school. Some of my teammates went on to the college gridiron, and one of them even had a long career in the NFL. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Big plays and big money on Sunday. Well apparently things are changing these days, and with good reason.

football players facing off
John W. Iwanski / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Just in time for college football's kickoff, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon returns to Stateside today to give us his first predictions of the season.

To start, the big game happening this Saturday in Arlington, Texas will pit the Michigan Wolverines (ranked 11th) against the Florida Gators (ranked 16th).

Bacon said the tea leaves tell him to expect a “wild, gun-slinging, crazy game.”

C/O Youtube

Michigan State University will not renew its contract with Curtis Blackwell, a school spokesman confirmed Tuesday. The news was first reported by Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press.

Blackwell, a former Detroit high school coach and co-founder of the Sound Mind Sound Body football camp, was brought on staff for his relationships with potential recruits in the region.

MSU football players approach the field
Matt Radick / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

So here’s what we know: on Tuesday, the attorney for a woman accusing three MSU football players of rape, told the press that MSU’s internal Title IX investigation found all three men in violation of school policy.

“What I can share is that the Title IX investigation is complete,” says Karen Truszkowski, the lawyer for the accuser. “[MSU’s investigator] did a very fair, reasonable, thorough investigation. And the report does say that three young men involved in this are in violation of a university policy.”

Western Michigan had a season for the ages that ended at the Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately, for stepping stone schools like WMU, success doesn't usually last very long.
GS Photo | Western Michigan Athletics

It's been a roller coaster ride for Western Michigan football fans over the last year. The Broncos entered the 2016 season as favorites to win the school's first conference title since 1988, as head coach P.J. Fleck had them as a program on the rise.

They backed that up, and then some, by finishing the regular season with an undefeated 13-0 record and becoming the first Mid-American Conference team to be invited to play in the high-profile Cotton Bowl Classic. They gave Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin all they could handle in the game, but ultimately suffered their first loss of the season, 24-16.

Broncos fans were on the national stage, and they were in a top notch bowl game, which is why they had to start looking for a new head coach.

First, the good news: A hearty four college football teams from the state of Michigan were invited to play in bowl games this winter: the University of Michigan, plus Eastern, Western and Central Michigan. The only top-tier team not to qualify: Michigan State, which fell all the way from a top-four spot in last year’s playoffs to a dismal 3-9 record.

Now, the bad news: All the teams from Michigan lost.

Western Michigan finished the season with a 13-1 record while earning its first conference championship since 1988.
GS Photo | Western Michigan Athletics

It has been a historic season for the Western Michigan football team.

After finishing with just one win after the 2013 season, the Broncos wrapped up the 2016 campaign with an undefeated regular season (13-0). The Mid-American Conference champions then earned a spot in the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked team outside of the "Power Five" conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12).

The season ended on a sour note though, as the Broncos played Wisconsin tough, but ultimately fell to the Badgers, 24-16

Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
Bahamas Bowl

It’s been a long time since the Eastern Michigan Eagles have been in a bowl game. Today, the football team will play in their first bowl game since the 1987 season.

The Eagles (7-5) will play the Old Dominion Monarchs (9-3) in the 2016 Popeye's Bahamas Bowl at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN and you can livestream it here.

You can also find live stats of the game here.

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